Anchorage Democrat Sen. Forrest Dunbar is looking for a problem to fix with Senate Bill 162. The problem is people who don’t want to rent to partiers. These short-term homeowners are a buzzkill to Dunbar.
The Dunbar party bill would add to the list of actions you cannot take as an owner of real estate in Alaska. You already cannot discriminate based on race, sex, color, gender, sexual status, marriage status, national origin, or just about anything else that distinguishes one person from another.
Dunbar’s bill inserts “residency in this state.” It appears to be a bill aimed at preventing discrimination — but against who?
Evidently, some people in Anchorage like to rent a house for one night in order to have wild parties, and some bed-and-breakfast owners don’t want parties. They want to rent to a different kind of clientele than the ones Dunbar is advocating for.
Dunbar, who is also sponsoring a bill to allow psychedelics to be used on mentally ill patients, believes those who rent houses for short-term should not be able to deny Anchorage partiers from renting homes for their graduation bashes.
The bill pairs well with an anti-free-market bill from Rep. Andrew Gray, another Anchorage Democrat, who proposes to limit bed-and-breakfast owners to having just one short-term property, and no more.
House Bill 184 would require all bed-and-breakfast owners to register with the state and be limited to one rental property. Gray seems to believe, without evidence, that bed-and-breakfast establishments have caused a housing shortage in Alaska. Across the nation, housing shortages are caused primarily by overbearing regulation, but short-term rentals have become the scapegoat.
Now, Sen. Dunbar is adding the party lifestyle as a new protected category in the Alaska statute that covers housing. His bill was pre-filed in advance of the legislative session that starts Tuesday.